LUNA (L-98) STEWARDSHIP PROJECT
of Life Watershed Societies Marine Mammal Monitoring Program (M3)
is working together with the Friday Harbour Whale Museum's Soundwatch
Program, on the new Luna Stewardship Project.
The Luna Stewardship Project is composed of a team of people from all three boater education programs who are dedicated to educating residents and visitors in Nootka Sound, British Columbia, about Luna's presence and his situation, and trying to prevent human/boat interactions with the whale. They are also monitoring Luna's condition by recording observations and collecting information from residents.
Over the winter The Luna Stewardship Project has been working with Gold River, B.C., residents as well as local charter plane and boat operators to obtain reports about L-98's whereabouts. They have also been able to have a trained volunteer from Gold River at the dock on needed weekends.
Winter weather conditions did not deter people from making the long journey to Nootka Sound, and already in the first weekend of February steady streams of people having been visiting Gold River to catch a glimpse of little Luna. With the nicer weather and boating season on the horizon, more people are expected.
After convening with a scientific panel of scientists from both sides of the border, the Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans Canada has decided not to intervene with Luna. This makes our role even more crucial. The Luna Stewardship Project would like to be able to provide coverage at the dock or in adjacent waters, seven days a week, indefinitely. The project is seeking funding to help cover fuel and printing costs, and is hoping to purchase or borrow a Bowler or other small trailer which could be situated at the Gold River dock for use as an information kiosk and to provide a dry, warm place for staff and volunteers when they are not out on the water. Their mission is to educate people about Luna's unique predicament, to decrease the amount of interaction Luna has with people and boats, and to advocate for an immediate plan for Luna's future.
Luna has become a very lonely little whale, and increasingly seeks out human companionship in the absence of his orca family. He is very difficult for humans to resist, but further interaction with the calf could prevent him from ever being a truly wild whale or being united with his pod, and could end up harming him or the people who interact with him.
Courtesy of Kari Koski, Soundwatch Coordinator, The Whale Museum, © 2003
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